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Legal Separation

Legal Separation in Tampa

About Tampa Legal Separation

Unlike many states across America, Florida does not have a law which specifically provides for legal separation. Despite this fact, it is still possible for you to obtain legal orders to govern the rights and responsibilities between you and your spouse during a period of separation, whether your marriage is headed for divorce or if you simply no longer want to live together yet do not wish to divorce. Pursuing this course of action is highly advisable, since without such orders you will not be able to compel your spouse to abide by any type of verbal or written agreement. Further, obtaining court orders on matters such as child custody and child support, visitation and alimony makes it possible for you to protect your personal interests and property rights in the face of opposition from your spouse.

Florida's Legal Separation Statute

The procedure involved in effecting a legal separation in Tampa is provided for by Florida Statutes §61.10 (2012), "Adjudication of obligation to support spouse or minor child unconnected with dissolution; parenting plan." Under the statute, either you or your spouse may petition the family law court for an adjudication of obligation from the other party. This may be done in cases where both parties are in agreement concerning the terms of separation and simply want to formalize the arrangements, as well as in situations in which one spouse is leaving the other and wants to go to court to obtain legally enforceable orders to settle disputes.

The judge will hear testimony and review evidence from both sides, and will determine what financial obligations each party has toward the other and toward the children in the form of child support and alimony payments. In addition, the judge may decide which parent the children will live with as their primary residence, as well as awarding rights of child custody and visitation. If there has been any history or threat of domestic violence, the victim can additionally petition for a protective order to obtain possession of the marital home and to obtain injunctions against further violence or any type of contact.

Reasons to Legally Separate in Tampa

Legal separation makes it possible for you and your spouse to bring about most of the conditions of divorce, without the necessity of committing to the finality of a formal dissolution of marriage. This is an attractive option for many couples who no longer wish to live together but who prefer not to divorce, such as due to the observation of deeply held religious convictions. Another common reason to legally separate is to preserve the marriage so that one spouse can continue to receive life insurance or disability benefits. Perhaps you and your spouse are determined to salvage the marriage and want to give yourselves more space and time to comfortably work on your relationship. One of the most common reasons to legally separate is to test out terms of child custody, visitation and alimony before bringing a petition to divorce, with the purpose of finding a workable arrangement which will not necessitate modifications to court orders after the divorce.

Discuss Your Options for Legal Separation

Whether you and your spouse are working together for an amicable resolution of the issues involved in your separation, or if you have already broken up and you need hard hitting legal representation to fight for court orders which will protect your rights, come to the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo. We provide caring and dedicated service to our clients, because we know how much is at stake for you. A Tampa divorce attorney from our team can meet with you to review your options and to discuss terms of separation which may work for you. Contact us now for a free consultation and to get started on the process!

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